Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Experience the world around you


As we go through our day to day lives, our world becomes smaller, centering on where we spend most of our time.

We can easily forget about the wider world. How beautiful it is, how blessed we are to be able to experience it's many wonders.

We should make an effort to regularly re-connect with this wonderous world.

Simply taking a walk in a local park, visiting the beach, going to explore local woodland.

All of these things will help us to see the beauty around us, give us a boost, a break from normality and the four walls which border our daily lives.

So use your spare time to get out and see the world around you.

Step away from your screens, your sofa, your workstation, your daily routine.

Bask in it's beauty, it's majesty. See the bigger picture and enjoy the world.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Learning from mistakes


We all make mistakes, we all fail at some point. Our lives will often throw us lemons. Such is the nature of things

It is what we do, how we react when this happens that is the important thing.

Next time that we encounter the same situation, we can think back to what happened last time, work out what we did wrong and try again with the knowledge that we have gained from these past mistakes and trials.

We should learn to look on failures, mistakes and trials as a positive thing, a learning experience.

For by learning and improving, we not only have a better chance of succeeding the next time, but we also learn more about ourselves and our strengths and weaknesses.

So instead of becoming disheartened and down, look upon these situations as a chance to move forward to the success that you deserve.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas is coming

Christmas is near,
It's coming next week,
The presents need wrapping
Best to do it,
When the children are napping!

The fridge it is full,
With meat and with cheese,
Getting it in,
Was quite a tough squeeze!

The tree's in the loft,
Up I will climb,
To sneeze and to snort,
With the dust and the grime!

But give me a week,
And all will be done,
Then we will start,
With games and with fun.

When the presents they rip,
The children will grin,
Eager to play,
With the goodies within!

The lunch will be fab,
Even down to the sprouts,
And that last slice of turkey,
Daddy will grab!

We will all settle down,
After the food is all gone,
And the washing up is done,
Oh wow, there was a ton!

To board games and fun,
Giggles and smiles,
Spending time with each other,
Is better by miles,

Than going to work,
All that toil and grind.
I'm so glad that for a while,
We've left it behind.

The sun has gone down,
It's getting quite dark,
But this Christmas day,
Has been such a lark!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

OnePulse review



OnePulse is an app which lets you earn money from your mobile device. It contains small surveys, or pulses, which are just a few questions long.

The app is available for ios or android and setting up a profile takes only a few minutes.

There are two types of pulses - paid and non-paid. The paid ones go fast, so set your device for push notifications, so that you don't miss them. These typically pay around about 10 to 25p each.

The non-paid ones give you experience points and badges, which in turn make it more likely for you to receive paid pulses.

Each Sunday there is a quiz, where the first first person to answer the question correctly will be awarded £5, which is fun to do.

Payment is via paypal once your account hits £5.

There are leader boards, so that you can see how you measure up against other members and friends and an achievements section where you can see what level badges you have attained  in the various subject groups.

Overall, I like this app, it's fun, fast and a great way to spend a spare few minutes

If you would like to give it a go, my referral code is UZ5A7  although you can join without using it if you prefer.

OnePulse

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Superpoints review



Superpoints is a site where you can earn points and exchange them for many different prizes and vouchers. It is a members only community, so the only way to join is to either be referred by another user or to apply to be sponsored by an existing member.

There are many different ways of earning superpoints, including filling surveys, viewing videos and taking part in the many offers available. There is also the superlucky button, which gives you the chance to win free points every day. The amount of spins that you have depends on what level of membership that you have.

Higher membership levels become available as you gain XP. This is gained every time that you interact with the site.

You can also pay to upgrade to a Platininum membership, which gives some advantages, including being automatically allocated sponsors, which gives you an instant 500 points for each. It also gives 200 daily spins of the superlucky button and means that your account will not be closed if you are inactive for 30 days.

Platinum membership currently costs $14.95 per year.

When your sponsors or referrals earn Superpoints, so do you, so it really is worth growing your network.

I've have been a member here for a year now, and have upgraded to Platinum membership. I now have 52 people in my network, who have all earned me points.

I've cashed out several times over the year and have recouped the cost of upgrading and have made a profit on top.

Overall, Superpoints isn't a huge earner, but each day brings an increase in points towards the next reward.

So if you fancy earning and having fun, join up for free. What have you got to lose.


Superpoints

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Make a new start

Some days it feels as if life is getting us nowhere.

We feel stuck in a rut, tired of not achieving what we want to.

But we have the power to change this. We just have to look at things from a new angle, to see if we can do things in a different way that works better for us.

Situations that happened in the past have happened. We cannot change this, but we can change how we live our future and learn from these past events.

We should use the present as an opportunity to start things afresh, to try a new direction, to make things better for both ourselves and our loved ones.

Each moment is a new chance. Don't waste it.

Friday, 12 September 2014

I need a new shed!

I need a new shed.
The old one is shot,
But there again,
It's been through a lot!

The mice they have nested,
Shredded and scratched,
Their appetite for belongings,
Can never be matched!

The birds, on the roof,
Have landed to peck.
The felt is all gone,
My goodness, oh heck!

There's a hole in the back,
As big as a cat
Maybe one will climb in,
And sleep on the mat!

So off to the garden centre,
We must all run,
To look at new sheds,
Oh this will be fun.

Deciding and looking,
Going in and then out,
Metal or wood,
So much choice is about!

Then home we will come,
And erect our new shed
Only the mice will be sad,
Because they'll need a new bed!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Come back Summer!



Just a few weeks ago,
The weather was hot!
Time has gone by,
Now it's decidedly not!

It's August still,
But the jumpers are on.
The temperature's falling,
With no prior warning!

The skies are now grey,
The heat has all faded,
I feel a bit cheated,
Definitely jaded.

The summer was short,
No word of a lie!
I'm really not ready,
To wave it goodbye!

So come on old Blighty,
Without further ado,
Give us all back our summer,
Hear us shout, good, yahoo!.

The time will soon come,
for heating and sweater,
But give us more time,
The longer, the better!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Cycling

The day has come!
It's time to get fit.
I struggle to the shed,
And pull out my kit!

My bike's covered in rust!
It's getting quite old.
But, I look at my middle!
My intention won't fold!

Out comes the oil,
For chain and for cog.
Spray, twist and wipe.
Maybe I'll just go for a jog!

But now, job done,
Down the alley I ride!
This is rather good fun!
I wobble and swerve.

The wind in my hair,
I head out with joy,
To burn off some calories,
That is my ploy!

My legs they are flying,
And no, I'm not lying.
But tomorrow I dread
That they'll both feel like lead!

I wobble and ride,
My balance improves.
Down roads and path,
On my steed I do glide.

I walk the last hill,
I'm quite out of puff.
Catching my breath,
I've had almost enough.

Free wheeling quite fast,
I arrive back at home,
Oh at last!
I ache to the bone.

Feeling quite smug.
I put up my feet,
And munch a cream cake.
My post-biking treat!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Down to the sea







In Victorian times, the ladies they walked
Through tunnels to the beach,
They giggled and talked.

Down to the sea,
For bathing and fun,
And, perhaps, a glimpse of the sun.

Off came their gowns,
Free, and quite bare!
Luckily, no men,
Upon them could stare!

Upon a large rock,
A lookout did stare
Ensuring no eyes,
Could see skin so fair.

After fun and a bathe,
With modesty saved,
Dressed in their gowns,
They depart for the towns.

Many years later,
The pools are still there,
But no longer,
Do ladies bathe bare.

The families play,
Have fun every day.
But echoes of the past,
In this place will last.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

A bat's flight

High up in the sky you soar,
catching moths, and bugs,
And more.

You twist, you turn,
You never cease
The moths tonight,
won't get much peace!

Upon my box,
Your clicks and squeaks
I have listened to
For many weeks.

I look upon your flight with awe
Your agile flits
I am glad I saw!

You loop, you bank,
You catch your prey,
Please come back,
Another day!

For I love to watch and listen,
When batty wings,
In twilight glisten

I turn off my bat box,
Store it tight.
For tomorrow is another night.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

No Fishing!



The day is bright,
The sun is high,
I wander along, when.........
What's that I spy.

A heron! Sitting bold and fine,
Upon a bright No Fishing sign!
Hey you, I cry,
And give a sigh!

Can't you read,
You naughty bird,
But he takes no heed,
Ignores my plead!

For fish beneath,
The bird has seen,
Down it dives,
Grabs one clean!

Back upon it's sign it climbs,
fish in bill,
It eats it's fill!

Once more it stands and stares,
The fish they shimmer,
They swim and shoal.
And down goes heron,
And catches his goal.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

The monster



The air is hot and still.
There is a feeling that something is coming!
The hairs on my neck stand,
Static charge fills the air.

Clouds build, like towering mountains.
They reach into the sky,
Brooding and dark,
Blocking the sun's warmth.

The rain begins!
Light at first, then heavier.
Fat, heavy drops bounce.
The roads run like rivers.

The lightening tears the sky apart.
Purple, jagged, beautiful.
Thunder rolls, echoing and rumbling.

Nearer and nearer the storm comes.
Flashing and crashing in unison.
Wind rises.
Nature is showing her fury.

Trees bend,
The day becomes night.
Senses are bombarded
Light and sound

The air itself crackles,
With a life of it's own
The world is changed, wild!

After what seems an eternity,
Rain begins to lighten,
The storm begins to die.

The raging lion tames,
The clouds evaporate,
Just the distant rumble remains.

The sun peeps out,
Fearful that the clouds may choke it's rays once more.
But it is safe to shine.
The monster has gone!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Slugs and Snails!!







The weather is warm,
The garden is green
I go and I look.
Slugs! Snails!
You are oh so mean!

My seeds I have tended,
Planted out with much care
I see with horror..............
I stop and I stare!

The leaves are a mess!
Holes you did munch!
You've eaten tomatoes,
For breakfast and lunch!!

My beans for tea,
They were grown,
But you've eaten them,
Crawled over then,
Leaves you have mown!!

But over there,
On the wall I do spy,
A hungry Blackbird.
Come, into the garden, please fly!

For those slugs and that snail
For your meal you will nail!
And maybe my plants
Will be safe and not fail.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Builders!

Oh the dust and the dirt!
The builders are in.
The noise and the fuss,
My head's in a spin!

Can we please have some tea?
First some work I must see!
Then maybe a biscuit,
For you and for me!

The men they are everywhere,
In the lounge and the hall.
Drilling and banging,
On ceilings and wall.

The damp is all going,
The house will be dry.
But, oh it's so stressful,
I just want to cry!

But the house will be finished,
Before very long,
Then my heart will be light,
I might break into song!

And when it's all done,
And every thing's clean,
I can relax and feel calm,
And see everything gleam.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Clutter!



Oh, where did it come from,
How did it grow?
I shake my head,
I just do not know!

The tapes and the books,
Ooo, that's worth a look!
I remember that one
To school it I took!

There's toys and there's games,
Hotwheels and clay
I remember the day,
We all sat to play!

When I look at the junk,
I think and I ponder............
That naughty book!
Why is that over yonder?

The room is so clean,
Surfaces gleam!
Now we just need a skip,
Or a trip to the tip!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Spring cleaning

Spring cleaning is here,
The house needs a spritz,
The dust is so thick,
It's makes me feel sick!

Tidying and cleaning!
There's work to be done.
We'll dust and we'll hoover,
Till the battle is won.

Dust bunnies are evil!
They run and they hide,
But nowhere is safe,
Now the bag they're inside!

We'll clean and we'll toil,
Til the end is in sight,
Even if it takes,
Till almost the night.

The end it is near,
So never you fear,
It's all clean and tidy,
Until the next year!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Thermae Bath Spa Review

Thermae Bath spa is a day spa, combining the charm of old historical buildings with modern design. It opened to the public in it's present form in August 2006.

Here, you can enjoy the benefits of the only natural thermal water spa in Britain. Many treatments are available, which need to be booked in advance.

Yesterday, as it was a lovely sunny day, my daughter and I decided to spend a day at the spa.

We travelled to Bath by train, so before we left, we checked First Great Western's web site to see if they had any special offers for the spa. Indeed they did – four hours in the spa for the price of two! So we printed off the voucher, grabbed our swimming costumes and hopped on the train.

We arrived at the spa, handed over the voucher, showed our train tickets and were given our extra time. We paid £27 each for two hours (Well, four in our case) and an extra £9 each for hire of robe, towel and slippers. You can take your own things, but we decided to treat ourselves, and it also meant that we had less to carry when we did a spot of after Spa shopping.

We were given a smart band, which is used to lock/unlock your locker, keep track of how long you have been in the spa and also to keep track of your spending in the restaurant.

We started our visit in the roof pool. Where you can relax on air seats and enjoy bubble jets. There is also a massage jet, which is great for easing stiff shoulders. The water is the temperature of a warm bath, so there is no worry about getting cold. We spent around an hour just lazing around here before heading down to the steam rooms.

There are four circular steam rooms, which each have a different aromatherapy steam. My favourite was Mint & Eucalyptus, as it helped clear my nose. The others had choices of Lotus flower, Sandalwood and Lemongrass & ginger. We stayed a while in each one, visiting the outdoor terrace between to cool down. We finished our session with an invigorating tropical shower, which is situated in the centre of the circle of steam rooms. It varies between a light mist to a heavy downpour and is a lovely way to cool off a little.

If all of this hard work makes you hungry and thirsty, you can partake of either a meal, snack or a drink in the Springs Cafe & Restaurant. On leaving, you are asked to touch your smartband to the reader, which both keeps a record of what you have spent and gives you extra time on the clock, so that your eating doesn't also eat into your spa time.

We then made our way down to the Minerva bath on the ground floor. This indoor pool has a whirlpool bath and a massage jet. The whirlpool is situated within the pool and the narrow part of the pool around it turns into a lazy river because of the currents from the jets in the wall of the pool, which is quite fun. Although, for some reason, I kept bumping into one of the four columns in the pool, which my daughter thought was rather amusing.

We left the pools, showered and got changed. There are plenty of hair dryers and mirrors in the changing rooms, as well as a spinner to take the worst of the water out of your costume and plastic bags to put them in.

We deposited our used robes, towels and slippers in the waiting hampers and made our way to the exit. Here, you touch your smart band against the reader for the last time. If you have nothing to pay, a green tick lights up, a draw opens, into which you drop your band and you are off. If you have stayed over your time, or ate in the restaurant, then a red cross will light up, and you then go to the till to pay the outstanding amount.

After leaving the spa, we partook of some retail therapy – well it has to be done. Including spending far too much money in the Fudge Factory shop................yum.

So will we go back to Bath Thermae Spa? You bet we will. This wasn't our first visit and it certainly won't be our last.

Until next time – farewell Bath Thermae Spa.

To read more about the spa, click here: Thermae Bath Spa

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The beach







The sand shifts beneath my feet. It's golden grains running through my toes as I walk.

The sun is already high in the sky and I turn my face upwards, embracing it's enticing warmth.

I spread my towel on the sand and sit, taking in the sights and sounds around me.

Children run, screaming and laughing as the icy cold fingers of the sea lap around their bare toes. In and out of the wavelets they run, joyous at the simple pleasure that it brings.

Their parents watch, smiling as their darlings have fun, remembering the days when they where young, and enjoyed the sea too. They talk, hold hands, enjoying and sharing their memories.

The surfers arrive, running eagerly towards the sea, splashing as they paddle out into the deeper water, waiting for the waves like stranded, rubber clad seals.

They hurtle towards land once more, whooping with joy, returning again and again, on an adrenaline fuelled mission to find the biggest, fastest wave.

The savoury smell of pasties wafts across to me. It must be lunch time. Children eat, re-fuelling their bodies, ready for more fun.

I lay, and I drift into a doze. The sounds become muffled, weave their way into my lazy mind. I feel so relaxed, so happy. I wish that I could stay here for ever.

I open my eyes, looking into the deep azure of the sky. Clouds scud across it, taunting the sun, but they are too small to win the fight. They bubble and burn, dissolving into the ether.

I gather my thoughts. It's time to go. Time to go back to reality, to my life and family.

I shake off my towel, and walk towards home, leaving the sea to whisper it's secrets to the sand.

Goodbye beach, I will be back another day.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The garden



The sun is shining,
At least for today.
I think I'll go out,
In the garden to play!

The grass is so green,
It might need a cut.
I should do it now,
But my mind says,
Oh but!!

The sun is so warm,
So let's just take five,
Chill out, relax,
Watch the bees feed and thrive.

I'll get a cool drink,
Sit on the chair.
At the flowers so pretty,
I'll look,
Then I stare!!

A great big spider,
Over there I do spy!!
Into the house my feet,
They do fly,

I love the garden,
To sit and to stay.
But I hate creepy crawlies.
Oh do go away!!


Monday, 12 May 2014

Clixsense Review



Clixsense is a site where you can earn money for taking part in many different activities.

These include:

Viewing advertisements

Completing offers

Taking part in CrowdFlower micro tasks

Playing ClixGrid, which gives a chance of winning up to $10 daily

Filling In surveys

Once your account reaches $8 or more, you can cash out via Paypal or PayToo. You can also be paid by cheque, although this does require a transaction fee of $1 and minimum payment levels depend on where in the world you are based.

There is a daily check list, from which you can earn a bonus if you complete all of the requirements.

The new Chrome browser add on gives you a little pop up in the corner of your browser, informing you of new surveys, tasks and advertisements, as well as telling you what your balance to date is. It's an easy and quick way to see if there is anything new to do.

For $17 a year, you can upgrade to a premium membership, which gives more chances a day to play on ClixGrid, increases your daily check list bonus and increases any referral or sign up bonuses.

The forum area is a good way to learn more about how Clixsense works and has many hints and tips on how to maximise your earnings.

Overall, I like this site. The cash balance builds quite quickly and there are a variety of things to do.




Thursday, 8 May 2014

Mornflake Superfast Fruit & Nut Muesli Pot Review






This muesli is a mix of fruit and nuts. The oats and cereals are blended with Chilean flame raisins, apple, chopped dates and apricots, roasted nuts and toasted coconut.


The handy pot can be eaten on the go, you just need to add water and stir to reconstitute the milk powder in the mixture.

Each 80grm pot contains around 306 calories, is suitable for vegetarians and costs around £1.

So, on to the taste taste. The lid of the pot has a nifty push out spoon, which clips together. The idea of the pot is that you can eat it on the go, but you still need the water to reconstitute the milk powder. So, either you have to buy a bottle of water, or have access to drinking water.

On opening, I was surprised at just how little cereal there is. It fills less than a quarter of the tub. I know that you need the space to stir the product, but this stills seem rather excessive.


Taste wise, well, it tastes like muesli, as expected. There's a good mix of fruit, nuts and cereals. When water is added, it dissolves the milk powder well, but it needs a very good stir, otherwise the powder gets trapped at the bottom of the pot.

Would I buy it? The answer is, personally, no, as I see no need for it. But I can see that if you are out and about, it would be a quick and easy breakfast, providing that you have access to water. It is also expensive considering the amount of muesli in the pot. 

But if you want a tasty, healthy breakfast on the go, then it would be just the thing.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Prior Park Review




As Yesterday was a Bank Holiday Monday, and the weather was nice, we decided to make the most of our National Trust membership and find somewhere to go for a walk and a picnic.

We chose to visit Prior Park near Bath in Somerset.

Prior Park is set in a beautiful valley. At this time of year, the wild garlic is in full flower, and the smell of garlic is everywhere, which is lovely.



The park contains a wonderful Palladian bridge, of which there are only four of this design in the world. It is fascinating to read the graffiti on the bridge, which dates back to the 18th century, when is was created by Ralph Allen. Although there are some very naughty people who have added to this in recent years, which is very sad to see, despite a sign asking visitors not to!



There are wonderful walks through the valley. They can be steep in places, with steps, which could be difficult for disabled visitors or people with young children and pushchairs. But the views are well worth the effort.

A short walk from the reception brings you to a point where the centre of Bath is laid out before you, beyond the park. It is a stunning sight.


Down by the lakes and bridge, there is a tea room, where you can sit and relax and take in the views. On the day that we visited, the swans took to the water with their gorgeous seven puffball cygnets. It was quite amusing watching them make the leap of faith of six inches into the lake. Plop, flap, plop.



Overall, we had a lovely day at Prior Park. The one slight downside is that there is only a small car park, which is for disabled customers only. We parked in a side street and walked down the hill. Or you could park in the centre of Bath or take the train and walk up, which is about a mile, or take a bus. This is a lovely hidden gem of a garden, and if you are in the area, is most worthy of a visit.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Dr. Oetker Fine Cooks' Chocolate Review






We love baking here at Serendipity Towers, so when I saw this Dr. Oetker's fine cooks' chocolate, I thought I'd try it out.

The chocolate costs around £1.60 from most supermarkets for a 150grm bar.

Whenever I have tried cooking chocolate before, I have always found that it to tastes quite bland. But on tasting, this was quite good. A nice chocolatey taste, which I could quite happily have eaten as it was.

The youngest Miss Serendipity decided to try to make some cup cakes with the chocolate. She broke the chocolate into a bowl, which she put above a pan of hot water to melt. The chocolate melted very easily and was very smooth and glossy.

She then folded the molten chocolate into her cupcake mixture. After cooking, the cakes where lovely and moist, with the chocolate marbled through them.




I would quite happily buy this chocolate again. There are many lovely recipes on Dr Oetker's website for the chocolate and for many more of their other home baking products.

Baking and Cooking with Dr Oetker

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Cawston Press Sparkling Apple and Rhubarb Review


Cawston Press Sparkling Apple and Rhubarb is sparkling soft drink, available in 330ml bottles and cans, retailing at around £1.

Each 100ml contains 32kcal and contains Sparkling Water, Pressed Apple Juice, Pressed Rhubarb Juice, Sugar, Malic Acid, Vitamin C, Fruit & Vegetable Extracts.

It contains no artificial sweeteners, colourings or preservatives.

The fruit juices are blended together to make a delightfully refreshing drink, which makes a lovely change from other fizzy soft drinks.

So, on to the taste taste. When I poured the drink into a glass, I was quite surprised by the lack of colour - somehow I was expecting it to be red. But thinking about it, there's no artificial colour, so it shouldn't be.

I love rhubarb and it's tart taste, so this drink tasted very pleasing indeed to me. But I can see that if you aren't a fan of rhubarb, then you could find it a bit too sharp. To me, this just adds to it's charm.

The drink is lightly sparkling, rather than the super duper fizziness of many other drinks, which again, I like.

I hate the bloated feeling that comes from the more mainstream drinks, so I tend to avoid them.

But this isn't a problem with this one. The bubbles are subtle, so there's none of that horrible 'mouth full of foam' situation.

Overall, I like this drink and I would certainly buy it again. There are many other interesting flavours in the range that I would like to try too, including Brilliant Beetroot, Apple and Ginger and Apple and Elderflower.

So, if you see Cawston press drinks in the shops, then I recommend that you give them a try for a more grown up and sophisticated taste than the usual brands.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Rustlers Quarter pounder review



Rustlers Quarter pounder is a pre-cooked burger in a bun, with a separate slice of processed cheese and a sachet of Rustlers sauce. They are available in most supermarkets and retail for around £2 each.

I have seen these in supermarkets often, but have never thought to try them, as microwaving a burger seems a strange idea somehow. But when I received a voucher to try a free one, I thought I might as well give it a go.

Times of cooking depend on the strength of your microwave. I followed the instructions to heat the burger in the bun, which stated 80 seconds. After cooking, I used a food probe to check the temperature of the burger, which was still a little cool, so I put it in for a further 30 seconds, which did the job.

After cooking, add the slice of processed cheese and sauce to taste. I feel that the photograph on the pack is a little misleading, as it shows lettuce in the burger, but there is none.


So, onto the taste taste. Well, it tastes like any other burger to be honest. But as you can see from the photo, the bun doesn't take to being heated too well. It becomes denser and more tough. On the pack, it does say that you can toast the bun separately from the burger, which would solve the problem, but then the idea of a fast snack is lost. The sauce is nice. Somehow it tastes like the sort of vegetables that normally come with a shop bought burger. Personally, I would prefer real adding vegetables, but that's personal choice.

If you are looking for a convenient, fast snack, then these will do the trick. I enjoyed my burger, but I don't think that it is something that I would buy regularly. But if you are a fan of 'ding' meals, then I'm sure that you will like them.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Organic Instant Miso on the Go Review




Miso is a Japanese staple food and seasoning. It is a traditional remedy for digestive ailments and contains many beneficial amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

The product that I tried was Clearspring instant white Miso on the go with tofu. It comes in an individual sachet weighing 8grm, which is simply added to 160ml of hot water to make an instant portion and retails for around £1.29.

It is organic and suitable for vegans. Each block is freeze dried, locking in the nutrients and flavour.

I have never tried Miso before, so when I saw this, I thought I'd give it a go. On mixing, the Miso dissolves easily, and has a pleasant aroma - somehow it smells a bit like chicken soup. It has pieces of vegetables and tofu in, which compliment each other well.

Ok, now to the taste test. Stangely, it tastes a bit like chicken soup too. The vegetables are crunchy, the tofu is soft, which is a nice mixture of textures. The taste is rich and pleasing, but rather too salty for my taste. But then again, this is the nature of Miso.

I can see that this would make an ideal mid morning snack, and a small mug of it is surprisingly filling. But would I buy it again? No, I don't think that I would, purely because for 160ml, it is quite expensive, and as I say, I find it just a little too salty.

But if you see these little sachets in the supermarket, it's an easy way to try Miso. You might even like it.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Gourmet Garden review



Gourmet Garden's herb and spices range make cooking tasty meals easy.

Their herbs are organically grown and are simply washed, chopped, blended and packed into tubes to maintain all of their fresh taste and nutrition. Simply keep the tubes in the fridge for a convenient way to add fresh flavour to your meals. They keep their strength of flavour for months, making them both economical and convenient.

The tubes are available in most supermarkets, retailing at around £1.70 a tube.

They come in many varieties, including  Basil, Hot Chilli, Chives, Garlic, Chunky Garlic, Lemon Grass, Italian Herbs, Parsley, Coriander and Ginger.

They are also available in a new blends range, which includes Mediterranean, Moroccan and Thai.

I haven't yet had a chance to try all of the varieties, but so far my favourites are Ginger, Lemongrass and Garlic.

Last night for tea, I used the Ginger and Lemongrass varieties to make a sauce for chicken and it was delicious.

And during the week, I added the Garlic to a home made pasta bake, which everyone agreed tasted very good.




Overall I love these little tubes of flavour, and I will certainly experiment with adding them to dishes, and I will also try some of the gorgeous sounding recipes on Gourmet Gardens website.



So if you see these little beauties in your local supermarket, give them a go, you won't be dissapointed.

Gourmet Garden

Friday, 25 April 2014

Champneys Skin comforting products review



I have sensitive, dry skin and I am prone to allergic reactions, but I have never had a problem with any of Champneys products, of which I have tried many.

My favourite is the Skin Comforting range. I was lucky enough to visit Champneys Forest Mere many years ago and had a dry flotation treatment, which involved being slathered in Skin Comforting body butter, then being wrapped in warm towels and lowered into what is akin to a very soft water bed. It was so relaxing, and somehow a connection was made between the smell of the product and the relaxation of the treatment. To this day, the smell makes me feel instantly relaxed.

There are four products in the range. The 200ml shower cream retails at around £6, the 300ml bathing milk at around £8, 300ml of body butter at around £10 and lastly the small but mighty Miracle Balm is around £5.50 

All of the products are wonderfully moisturising and leave your skin soft and fragrant. The Miracle Balm is wonderful to use on super dry areas like elbows and knees and makes them feel instantly soft and smooth. I have used it on my dry feet too, although a word of warning - mind you don't slip if you then walk barefoot! As with most foot moisturisers, the best way is to slather it on and then put on a pair of cotton socks and leave it to do it's magic.

Overall, I love this range. My skin adores it and it smells heavenly. It is available from Champneys (resort shops and online) and most Boots stores.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Dyrham Park review



Dyrham Park is a manor house, park and gardens near Bath in Gloucestershire.

It is set in 270 acres of parkland which is home to a herd of fallow deer.

The house was originally built by William Blathwayt and the interior of the house has changed little in the last 300 years.

As the weather was so beautiful over the weekend, we decided to visit Dyrham park.

The main car park has plenty of space, so parking isn't a problem.

There is a shuttle bus which runs from the car park to the main house, which is ideal for people who are unable to make the 10-15 minute walk down the hill, or even for the return trip if your feet are rather tired.

We decided to walk down, taking a quiet route through the trees. The deer where feeding in this area, although they kept away from the main path. Part way down Miss Serendipity spotted an antler which had been freshly cast by one of the deer, which made her day. She asked one of the groundskeepers if she could have it and was told that that was fine.


We then visited the house, which is well worth a look around. It includes a fine collection of Dutch art and ceramics.

We than had a picnic lunch, followed by a wander around the formal gardens. Being spring, the bulbs gave a wonderful show. There are ponds, rich with water boatmen and pond skaters and a set of steps which the water cascades down and is a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by for a while.


Through into the orchard, are some bee hives, which we stopped to watch. The bees were very active, collecting the pollen from the multitude of flowers and tree blossom.



After this, we took a slow stroll back up to the car park. As it was Easter, there where many children hunting for the chocolate eggs which had been hidden around the park. They were also thoroughly enjoying running and rolling down the many hills.

Overall, we had a lovely day, and if you are in the area, I would recommend visiting Dyrham Park as a good family day out. There really is something for everyone.

Dyrham Park information

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Chocolate Chai Latte review






Chai Latte is a blend of tea, milk, spices and chocolate. It comes as a powder which is added to hot water or milk to make a drink. Around 3 teaspoons is the recommended amount for one cup.

It is 99% caffeine free, has around 91 calories per 20grm serving and is suitable for vegetarians. It retails at around £2.50 for a 250grm tub.

I decided to try the Chai Latte with hot water. First impressions were good. It was a rich, deep chocolate colour and the aroma was good - chocolate and spice.

But, on tasting, I found it quite a strange mixture. I like my tea to taste of tea and my chocolate to taste of, well, chocolate. I found it rather too sweet and it left my mouth feeling a bit thick. It was nice, but would I buy another tub? I think the answer would have to be no. There are others that think that this drink is wonderful, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. (pardon the pun)

If you like trying something a bit different, and quite like the idea of a mixture of flavours, then maybe it's for you. But personally, I'm off to put the kettle on for a nice refreshing cup of standard tea.




Monday, 14 April 2014

Hotel Chocolat You Crack Me Up Easter Egg Review






A few weeks ago, I was very lucky to win this Easter Egg from a fellow blogger. Mmmm free chocolate - lovely.

The egg is made of a mixture of milk and white chocolate and contains 12 smiley face pralines, happy chicks, bunnies and soldiers and altogether weighs 415 grm. The cost of the egg is £28 and it is suitable for vegetarians.

The box is lovely and sturdy and I'm sure that Miss Serendipity will have a use for it once all of the chocolate is gone.


So, on to the chocolate shapes inside of the egg. They are wrapped in tissue paper and stored inside the shell. The shapes will appeal to children, although youngest Miss Serendipity doesn't like praline, which the lighter smiley faces and the fried eggs contain. That's ok though, because luckily, I'm rather partial to it myself. The chicks are pure chocolate, the darker smileys are chocolate buttercream, the bunnies are caramel and the 'soldiers' are pure white chocolate. All are sweet and yummy, as you would expect.





And onto the shell. This is a marbled mix of white and milk chocolate. The chocolate is, as you would expect, creamy and delicious.

Would I buy this egg myself? I think the answer would have to be no. That is not because I dislike it, I like it very much. But at £28, it is way out of my price range to give as a gift. However, if you don't mind spending out on a special gift for a lucky person, then I'm sure that it will be received with glee and eaten with rapture.

I wish you all a very Happy Easter.



Thursday, 10 April 2014

YouGov Review



The YouGov panel is a worldwide community of people who like to express and share their opinions, and earn points along the way.

Panel members receive regular email invitations for new surveys and each time that you complete one, you earn points. Sometimes they also send surveys that don't have points but that enter you automatically in a monthly prize draw, with prizes varying from £2000 down to 200 YouGov points.

The surveys are varied and interesting, appearing in your e-mail inbox on a regular basis. Once your points total reaches £50, you can be paid via bank transfer.

There is also an option to fill in what YouGov call your Opigram, which gives you the option of sharing more about yourself and to build an ever expanding profile of things that are of interest to you. Although this section of the site is not mandatory. You can do as little or as much as you like.

Overall I like this site. I reach a payout around once or twice a year. I don't tend to fill in my Opigram, as I am more interested in filling in the surveys, which I find fun and interesting.

If you like filling out surveys, earning money, having your say and keeping up with the news, then give YouGov a try. I'm sure you will find it interesting.

yougov.co.uk 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Atlantis Cards Review



Atlantis Cards by Diana Cooper come as a set of 44 cards. They are designed to  provide insights and inspiration for your life, highlighting strengths and helping you to work with your weaknesses. The pack is priced at around £10.

These cards are more suited to somebody who has been reading cards for a while, as they do not come with an instruction booklet, like many other Oracle cards. Instead, there is a passage written on the reverse of each card, giving an outline of what the card may be indicating for a particular person.

I have read with these cards for many years now and have always found them intuitive and easy to use. There is a diagram included with them, giving suggestions of layouts, from simple 3 card spreads, up to more complicated, multiple card layouts for more advanced readers.

The pictures on the cards are colourful and attractive, but at the same time aren't too cluttered and busy.

They are the perfect size for shuffling and holding, being the same size as a standard playing card.

Overall, these are my favourite cards to work with, and I have a fair few decks. I find them easy to connect to and I have been told that the messages and guidance given through them are accurate.  They may not suit everyone, especially if you are new to giving readings, but if you've had some prior experience, then I can highly recommend them.





Monday, 7 April 2014

Qustodian review

Qustodian is a free service delivering offers and ads based on your interests and preferences, under your control, on your mobile phone.

 Apps are available for the following platforms: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Java.

Once downloaded onto your device, you are in total control over when you choose to view ads and offers through the service. Entering your interests and preferences is easy and quick.

To view the ads, simply open the app, which then automatically downloads the latest content into the messages section, according to your interests. Click on the individual ads and you can read about the products and services, and visit external sites for more information. Each ad pays a few pence for a view, if you go on to download a recommended app, you can earn a little more. It's not a fantastic earner, by any means - I make around £2 a month, but it's a fun way to pass some spare time. Visit the My Yoad section of the app to check on your earnings. Once you have earned £10, you can cash out through either a bank transfer or Paypal.

Another section of the app is the deals section. This is where you can get deals tailored to your interests, giving you large discounts on the normal price.

Overall, the deals are good, but don't expect to get rich quick with Qustodian. But as you can view the ads and deals when it suits you, it's a good way to earn a few pennies in your spare time.

If you would like to give them a try, please could you go through this link, as it earns me a few extra pennies.

Qustodian

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Valued Opinions review


Valued Opinions is a paid survey site. They offer varied and interesting surveys on a regular basis. Each survey pays from 25p up to £5, depending on the length.

Registering is quick and easy and only takes around 5 minutes, so you can be ready to start earning quickly. Valued Opinions will send  survey invitations to you by e-mail, or you can check on the site through your personal dashboard to see if there are any surveys that suit your profile.

Once you have reached a minimum of £10, you can cash out. There are various vouchers available including M & S, Sainsburys, Argos, and Amazon.

As with any survey company, there can be times when you dutifully fill in the first few pages of the survey, only to be told that you aren't suitable and you get screened out, which is always disappointing. But generally the surveys are interesting and varied.

I've been filling in surveys for Valued Opinions for many years now and manage to reach the £10 payout threshold most months. I usually opt for Amazon vouchers, which arrive as a code within an e-mail within a few minutes of redemption.

Overall, Valued Opinions is one of my favourite survey sites - and I'm a member of many. The survey cash mounts up quickly and the surveys are fun to do.

www.valuedopinions.co.uk/

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Gravity movie review



Gravity is a 2013 sci-fi thriller directed by Alfonso CuarĂ³n.

It is set during a ficticious space shuttle mission. Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is an engineer on her first mission and is accompanied by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney). Whilst they are on extra-vehicular activity, debris collides with the shuttle, damaging it irreparably. They are left adrift in space. Will they survive? Will they get back to Earth?

I'd seen trailers for this film and thought that it looked just the sort of movie that I would enjoy, so when it beckoned to me, I bought it.

I watched the blu-ray version and the graphics and special effects are stunning. The soundtrack is a bit odd at times, switching from music and kerbooms, to the silence inside of the astronaut's helmet. But I think that just adds to the tension.

The film keeps you on the edge of your seat from a few minutes in, right up until the last few minutes. The story is a little predictable, but still pulls you in.

If you enjoy a good sci-fi or thriller movie, then this film has both in spades. If you get the chance to watch it, I'm sure that you will enjoy it - if only for the stunning scenes of Earth from space.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Shaken Udder Milkshakes review


Shaken Udder was formed in 2004 by Jodie and Howie. Their dream was to produce flavour packed shakes using British milk and the finest natural ingredients.

Liking all things natural, (and being a big kid) when I saw these milkshakes, I thought I'd give them a try. They come in three flavours, Strawberry, Banana and chocolate and contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives and are suitable for vegetarians. A pack of three costs around £1.85 and they are available at most supermarkets.

The drinks are shelf stable, so don't take up valuable fridge space, although they do taste nicer chilled and can also be frozen, which works well as a cold pack for packed lunches. Shaken Udder milkshakes are 'School Approved', so there should be no problems with putting them in children's lunch boxes.

So, the important taste test. Because they are aimed at kids and contain no artificial nasties, they do not have the bright colours and strong tastes of other products. But, I like that. The flavours are delectably delicate, as are the colour of the shakes. The sweetness level is also just right. And what is lovely is that there is none of that horrible artificial aftertaste that comes from products that contain artificial sweeteners.

Overall, I would be very happy to serve these milkshakes to children both young and old alike. Many older people may prefer the stronger flavours and colours of more adult drinks, but if you like naturally flavoursome drinks that are also good for you and your children, then these get a big thumbs up.
British milk the credit it really deserves. Our flavour-packed shakes use only the best-quality fresh British milk and the very finest natural ingredients - See more at: http://www.shakenudder.com/index.asp#sthash.1G04khay.dpuf
British milk the credit it really deserves. Our flavour-packed shakes use only the best-quality fresh British milk and the very finest natural ingredients - See more at: http://www.shakenudder.com/index.asp#sthash.1G04khay.dpufv
Jodie and Howie
Jodie and Howie
Jodie and Howie
British milk the credit it really deserves. Our flavour-packed shakes use only the best-quality fresh British milk and the very finest natural ingredients - See more at: http://www.shakenudder.com/index.asp#sthash.1G04khay.dpuf

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Mexican Dave's Legendary Tortilla Chips review


I do like my savoury snacks, so when I saw these, I couldn't wait to tuck in.

The chips contain no MSG, artificial flavourings or preservatives and are suitable for vegetarians.

The flavour which I tried was Nacho cheese. They come in a big sharing bag weighing 225grm. That's enough chips for the whole family to enjoy. And at just £1 a bag, they won't break the bank either, so they're perfect for that movie night in.

On opening the bag, the chips smell nice and cheesy. But will they pass my discerning family's test taste?

In texture, they are what you would expect - dry and crunchy. Some are a little 'bubbled', but that doesn't really detract from the overall crunch of the product.

The cheese strength. Well, I like my cheese, well, cheesey and these chips fell a bit short of the mark in my opinion. As far as I'm concerned, you can't have to much cheese! But, if you don't like your chips too full on in the strength of taste department, then these will serve you just fine. And the bonus is, they are almost half the price of Doritos.

If they are going to be smothered in melted cheese or used with a dip, then these chips would suit very well and are a bargain price.



Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Candy Crush Crazy!


Having watched my family succumb to the addiction that is Candy Crush, a while ago I took the plunge and joined them.

To start with, I really couldn't see the appeal of the game. It was a fairly simple game, matching three candies the same to remove them and joining four in a row to make a stripy candy which will take out a whole row when it meets another two candies of the same colour. Match higher numbers to get wrapped candies, (kaboom) and spotty bombs. Then, match special candies together to get even bigger booms.

Each level has it's own requirements, either clear all of the jelly, bring down the ingredients, timed levels or special orders.

I was playing on my own for a while on my ipad, but then I was encouraged to connect the game to my Facebook account, basically because Mr Serendipity needed help to unlock a new world.

Well, that's where my addiction began. I could see where my Facebook friends had got to in the game, and I wanted to catch them up. Friendly rivalry? You bet!

Having whipped through the first few dozen levels, things suddenly started to get a bit more tricky. Some of the levels just seemed downright impossible! But, hey, my friends had obviously cleared them, so I just kept on plugging away. I could be stuck on some levels for days, but would I give up? Nope!

There is an option in the game to pay real money to buy boosters to make hard levels easier, but somehow, that feels a bit like cheating. Although, there have been times when I've been very tempted!!

There is a daily spin the wheel, where you can 'win' boosters. I try to remember to spin every day and save the boosters to use in levels that I am really stuck on. Although it's rather frustrating to use all of your precious boosters and still fail the level, but hey, that's the way the candies crush.

So, if my friends are getting bored with the notifications asking for help, then I'm afraid it's all your own fault. I mean, if it wasn't for you lot being so good at the game, I wouldn't feel the need to try to catch you up - but I do love you all really.

Whilst I'm typing this, I'm waiting for my lives to refill because I'm stuck again - on level 319. But, I'll get there, I'm chasing you good friends.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Happy Mothers Day

If you have a Mother still on this Earth - Treasure her.

If you have a Mother who has passed - remember her with love.

If you have children on this Earth - rejoice in their love

If you have children that have passed - remember that you will always be their Mother.

Happy Mothers Day.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Rewarder.com review

Rewarder is a site which brings together people who need answers with people who have the knowledge to give them.

Members can post a question (Known as a reward) and offer a cash incentive to answer it, which is usually $2 - $5. Each question is open for around 3 to 5 days, after which the asker chooses his/her favourite answer and the answerer gets paid.

Most of us have an area in which we have good knowledge, and with Rewarder there are always hundreds of questions to choose from, so there will always be a something that you can answer.

Signing up is quick and easy, you just enter your e-mail address and away you go.

Minimum payout is $5, which you can request either via Amazon.com or Paypal. If you are based outside of the U.S, then I would recommend Paypal.

When I first joined, I thought that maybe the site was too good to be true, so I answered a few questions and sat back to see what would happen. For 4 days, nothing did. And then...........I had an e-mail saying congratulations, you won a Reward!!! I clicked to payout to my Paypal account and the money was credited 2 days later.

So, what are the pros and cons of Rewarder?

The pros:

You can make money relatively quickly and easily.

Each 'friend' that you refer gives you a bonus for each reward that they win

It's fun to answer the questions.

The con:

If your answers aren't up to scratch or are not what the asker wants, you won't get paid

Overall, I love this site. It's an entertaining way of spending some spare time, and I get paid for doing it.

If you would like to join, could I be cheeky and ask you to do it through my link, that way, we both win. Happy answering.